Improving the manuals

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The source code repository for the ConTeXt reference manual and ConTeXt: an excursion is kept at This article explains how to access the source code.

The contents of the repository

There are three directories at the top level of the repository:

  • context-beginners contains the code for ConTeXt: an excursion, the beginners' manual.
  • context-reference contains the code for the ConTeXt reference manual.
  • context-commands contains a proof-of-concept for a command reference based on Lua tables. This project is not currently active.

Each manual's directory contains a Makefile; to build the PDF, the following should suffice (mutatis mutandis).

 cd context-reference

ConTeXt: an excursion is available in several languages, stored in context-beginners/en/, context-beginners/fr/, etc. A number of extra make targets are available:

 make en          # make only the english screen and print versions
 make fr-screen   # make only the french screen version

Getting the source code

The source code is stored and managed using Subversion. For more information, see the Subversion article on this wiki.

Anonymous checkout, for curiosity

(Instructions taken from here.)

If you just want a copy of the manuals' source code, you can get it anonymously. Open a command prompt and enter the following command:

 svn checkout --username anonsvn

The password is anonsvn.

Non-anonymous checkout, for development

  1. Register an account on
  2. Request to join the contextman project
  3. Check out the source code using your developer name and password
 svn checkout --username developername

Current improvement projects

ConTeXt reference manual

Recently updated chapters

ConTeXt, an excursion

There are several translations underway (Chinese, French, Vietnamese) for ConTeXt, an excursion, as well as several completed translations (Czech, Dutch, English). To start a new translation, follow these instructions. First, the preliminaries:

  • follow the instructions above to make a non-anonymous checkout of the source.
  • Choose an abbreviation LANG for your language (e.g. it for Italian).

Next, make your own language's files based on the English files.

  • Create a subdirectory LANG.
  • Copy all English files here: cp en/* LANG/.
  • In the file names, change any en segments to LANG.

Prepare the Makefile, so that anyone can compile your translation in a single step.

  • Open the Makefile. Add your own language alongside the existing languages — a simple copy-and-modify strategy should get you there.
  • Run make LANG

Then it is time to start working on the translation.

  • Comment each paragraph, and add your translation below it.

When you are done, post a message to the mailing list announcing your finished translation. It will be made available in the official download locations.